Well I’m no authority but given that I’m hosting this year I’ve done a bit of research / flicked through some lovely Christmassy magazines and looked at the pretty pictures!

As far as I can see you need a turkey with trimmings, gifts for your loved ones, some games and a few other incidentals that should make the day go with a bang (I’m talking a cracker sort of bang rather than a ‘blimey, I’ve blown the electrics’ kind of bang - not unlikely in my house as we’ve usually got too many pans on the hob plus the oven will have been on since 6am along with the heating, 2 televisions showing various festive movies, the coffee machine and several devices charging …..all at the same time!) Sounds like not only will I be abstaining from alcohol and Quality Street in the New Year, but also from using gas and electricity with such wild abandon. Still, until then, let’s enjoy everything this wonderful time of year has to offer….

The Lunch

For the meat-eaters out there, you’ll probably be needing a turkey (hope you’ve already got this on order or have fought over one in Sainsbury’s by now as they’re few and far between it seems this year); some pigs in blankets; stuffing, bread sauce (hate the stuff) & cranberry sauce; plus potatoes and parsnips for roasting; red cabbage (I’ve already cooked this and stuck it in the freezer along with the cauliflower cheese and mashed swede); and we’ll also have brussel sprouts (but can only stomach them boiled then fried with shed loads of pancetta). Bung in a couple of Yorkshire puds and some excellent gravy and you’re done - crikey, I’m now having a slight panic because that sounds like an awful lot of work. Good luck everyone! Main point is, PREPARE AHEAD and don’t forget to put lots of effort into your TABLESCAPE (because if the food doesn’t taste any good, at least the table will look fabulous). These napkin/tablecloth combos work well (just add a couple of dinner candles and some foliage from the garden)……

Blockprint Tablecloth in Petal with Selina Napkins in Sage Block Print Tablecloth in Denim and Selina Napkins in Sapphire  


We usually have a quiz (devised by a family member - this year it’s my nephew who is in charge) and always find time for Empire. If you haven’t played this before, it’s a great game for all the family. Shall I expand?

You ideally need at least 8 people to take part. Each person must write the name of someone well-known on a piece of paper and put it into a hat. The youngest person (who can read!) usually gets the pleasure of reading all the names out. It’s at this point that you need to stop watching ‘Only Fools and Horses’ and listen up. You also need to attempt to remember all the names read out (almost impossible, especially after several glasses of wine) and don’t let other people distract you, they’ll soon regret chatting about how moist the turkey was during this crucial part of the game.

Once all the names have been read out, the person to the left of the nominated name-reader goes first. They must try and guess who wrote down which name. They get one guess. If they guess correctly, the person they asked, comes over to their ‘Empire’. These two then get another chance to ask someone else. If they’re correct, THAT person comes over to their Empire too and so it continues. If they are WRONG, the person they asked then gets control of the game and gets to ask someone else who they might be. By the end you normally have a couple of Empires and one person left on their own whose name no-one can remember! (that’s the name they put into the hat, not their actual name but having said that, this is also wholly possible!!) No idea whether I’ve explained that clearly (please feel free to email me with any questions) but give it a go, you won’t regret it and it’s something that everyone from 9 to 90 can join in with.

Empire Names

Christmas Viewing

Finally, once we’ve eaten more than our body weight in turkey and mince pies, and everyone has fallen out because the quiz was too hard and everyone except one person wrote Boris Johnson down as their ‘well-known person’, it’s time to settle down in front of the box. I don’t tend to bother with the TV if I’m honest on the big day (too much eating and drinking to do for that) but I will always try and catch up on the Strictly Christmas special and the Queen’s Speech (which will be the King’s Speech this year) and watch some sentimental bits and bobs that remind me of Christmases long ago such as the Only Fools and Horses Christmas Special and The Snowman. And Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a dose of Love Actually, Home Alone, The Holiday and Miracle on 34th Street. Happy viewing!


So there you have it. Not exactly a fail-safe article that you’ll refer to year after year for advice and tips on how to have the perfect Christmas but more musings from the mad lady with the shop in Ilminster about what she does on the big day. That being said, hopefully my newsletter has given you something to do on this chilly winter day and maybe even have given you a couple of ideas (you never know!)

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year.
Sophie x

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